Southern New Hampshire University: History, Programs, and Costs

Located near downtown Manchester, New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institute with more than 3,000 students on campus and over 135,000 online students. The campus size is 338 acres and welcomes college-aged students and working adults with flexible course schedules either on campus or online. Of the 15 private institutions in New Hampshire, SNHU is the most popular institution.


Founded in 1932 by Harry Alfred Benjamin “H.A.B.” Shapiro, SNHU was originally named the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science where there were fewer than 10 day students and 35 evening students. One-year courses focused on bookkeeping, accounting, and secretarial courses, which qualified graduates for entry-level positions such as secretaries, bookkeepers, and junior accountants. The program sought to challenge students on the underlying theory of the tasks they performed.

In the 1960s, the school earned accreditation and degree-granting authority and was renamed New Hampshire College of Accounting and Commerce. It was later shortened to New Hampshire College after becoming a nonprofit institution. In 1995, the school launched its internet-based distance learning program, which is now called SNHU Online, and quickly grew to 8,000 enrollments within just six years. By 2001, the school changed its name to Southern New Hampshire University after rapid campus expansion.

Under the direction of Paul LeBlanc who is the fifth and current president of SNHU, the institution now has over 135,000 online students, making it the largest nonprofit provider of online higher education in the U.S. SNHU’s mission statement hopes to challenge the status quo and provide support in higher education, expand access to education by creating high quality, innovative pathways to meet the unique needs of every learner, and achieve success from learners’ successes.

Programs and Majors

There are more than 300 programs offered on campus and online at SNHU. Popular majors include Business, Liberal Arts and Humanities, and Psychology. In 2019, there were more than 10,000 SNHU employees across the U.S.; the student-to-faculty ratio was 22:1. In the table below, programs and majors are outlined with degree specifications. There are over 200 career-focused online college degree programs and more than 100 online Bachelor’s degree programs and concentrations.

Southern New Hampshire University Degrees Offered

ProgramDegree TypeOnlineOn-Campus
AccountingGraduate CertificateYesNo
Accounting FinanceBSYesYes
Accounting FinanceMSYesNo
Advanced Counterterrorism & Homeland SecurityGraduate CertificateYesNo
Advanced Graduate Stuides in Creative WritingPost Master’s CertificateNoYes
Advanced Graduate StudyGraduate CertificateNoYes
Aeronautical EngineeringBSNoYes
Air Traffic ManagementBSNoYes
Applied EconomicsMSYesNo
Athletic AdministrationGraduate CertificateYesNo
Aviation ManagementBSNoYes
Aviation Operations & ManagementBSNoYes
Business AdministrationASYesYes
Business Administration (International Students)BBANoYes
Business AnalyticsBSNoYes
Business AnalyticsMSNoYes
Clinical Mental Health CounselingMAYesNo
Clinical Nurse LeaderMSNYesNo
Community Health EducationBSYesNo
Computer Information SystemsBSYesYes
Computer ScienceASYesNo
Computer ScienceBSYesYes
Construction ManagementBSNoYes
Creative Writing & EnglishBAYesYes
Crime & CriminologyCertificateNoYes
Criminal JusticeASYesNo
Criminal JusticeBSYesNo
Criminal JusticeMSYesNo
Curriculum & InstructionMEdYesNo
Cyber SecurityMSYesNo
Data AnalyticsASYesNo
Data AnalyticsBSYesNo
Data AnalyticsMSYesNo
Digital PhotographyAAYesNo
Digital PhotographyBAYesNo
Dyslexia & Language Based Learning DisabilitiesGraduate CertificateYesNo
Early Childhood and Special EducationMEdNoYes
Early Childhood EducationBANoYes
Early Childhood Special EducationBANoYes
Economics & MathBSNoYes
Economics FinanceBSNoYes
Education LeadershipPhDNoYes
Educational LeadershipEdDNoYes
Educational StudiesMEdNoYes
Electrical EngineeringBSNoYes
Elementary and Special EducationMEdNoYes
Elementary EducationBANoYes
English & Creative WritingMAYesNo
English EducationBANoYes
English Language & LiteratureBAYesYes
Environmental ScienceBSYesYes
Fashion Merchandising & ManagementBSYesYes
Fashion MerchandisingASYesNo
FinanceGraduate CertificateYesNo
Forensic Accounting & Fraud ExaminationGraduate CertificateYesNo
Game Art & DevelopmentBAYesYes
Game Programming & DevelopmentBSYesYes
General StudiesBAYesNo
Graphic Design & Media ArtsBAYesYes
Health Information ManagementBSYesNo
Health Information ManagementMSYesNo
Health SciencesBSYesNo
Healthcare AdministrationBSYesNo
Healthcare AdministrationMSYesNo
Higher Education AdministrationMSYesNo
Hospitality BusinessBSNoYes
Human Resource ManagementCertificateYesYes
Human Resource ManagementGraduate CertificateYesNo
Human Resource ManagementMSYesNo
Human ServicesBAYesNo
Information TechnologiesASYesNo
Information TechnologiesBAYesNo
Information TechnologiesBSYesYes
Information TechnologyMSYesYes
International BusinessLow Residency PhDNoYes
International BusinessPhDNoYes
Justice StudiesASNoYes
Justice StudiesBSNoYes
Law & Legal ProcessCertificateNoYes
Law & PoliticsBANoYes
Law & Politics Pre-J.D.BANoYes
Leadership in Public ServiceGraduate CertificateNoYes
Leadership of Nonprofit OrganizationsGraduate CertificateYesNo
Leading & Learning in a Competency-Based SystemMEdNoYes
Liberal ArtsAAYesYes
Liberal ArtsBANoYes
Low-residency MFA in Fiction or NonfictionMFANoYes
MarketingGraduate CertificateYesNo
Master of Business AdministrationMBAYesYes
Master of Fine Arts in Creative WritingMFAYesNo
Master of Public HealthMPHYesNo
Mechanical EngineeringBSNoYes
Middle School Mathematics EducationBANoYes
Middle School Science EducationBSNoYes
Music EducationBANoYes
Nurse EducatorMSNYesNo
Operations & Project ManagementBSNoYes
Operations & Supply Chain ManagementGraduate CertificateYesNo
Operations ManagementBSYesNo
Organizational LeadershipMSYesNo
Patient Safety & QualityMSNYesNo
Patient Safety & QualityPost-graduate certificateYesNo
Plus One in Professional AccountancyMSNoYes
Policing & Law EnforcementCertificateNoYes
Political ScienceBAYesNo
Professional StudyGraduate CertificateNoYes
Professional StudyPost Master’s Graduate CertificateNoYes
Project Management & OperationsMSYesNo
Project ManagementGraduate CertificateYesNo
Public AdministrationGraduate CertificateYesNo
Public HealthBSYesNo
Secondary Education with STEM EducationMEdNoYes
Secondary Mathematics EducationBANoYes
Six Sigma Black BeltGraduate CertificateYesNo
Social Media MarketingGraduate CertificateYesNo
Social Studies and EducationBANoYes
Special EducationBANoYes
Sport ManagementBSYesYes
Sport ManagementMSYesNo
Teaching English as a Foreign LanguageMSNoYes
Teaching of CompositionGraduate CertificateNoYes
Technical ManagementBSNoYes
Technical Management IIBSYesNo
Terrorism & Homeland SecurityCertificateNoYes
Unmanned Aerial SystemsCertificateNoYes

Degrees and Certificates Offered

Undergraduate and graduate students can earn a variety of degrees and certificates at SNHU. In 2019, more than 21,000 degrees were awarded at SNHU’s 87th Commencement, which hosted four ceremonies. Most awards earned are four-year Bachelor’s degrees. The graduation rate is 51% for students who graduated within eight years of entering SNHU for the first time. Sixty-three percent of first-time, full-time undergraduates returned to SNHU after their freshman year.

SNHU offers the following degrees and certificates:

  • Less than one year Certificate
  • Associate’s Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Postbaccalaureate Certificate
  • Master’s Degree
  • Post-Master’s Certificate
  • Doctor’s Degree

Graduates’ salaries range between $25,700 and $71,500. The lower end is based on a Culinary Arts and Related Services Associate’s Degree while the higher end is based on a Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing Bachelor’s Degree. These earnings are not conclusive but shows the average annual earnings of former students one year after graduation.

Enrollment and Admissions

The enrollment total for fall 2019 was 113,514 students, with 92,902 undergraduates, 11,801 undergraduate transfers, and 20,612 graduates. The total number of applicants for fall 2019 was 25,019 with an acceptance rate of 88%. SNHU President LeBlanc hopes to reach 300,000 enrolled students by 2023.

The application process for SNHU is split between on-campus and online students. There are some variations for undergraduates, graduates, transfers, and international students.

Process for submitting an application as a prospective undergraduate freshman:

  • Complete Common Application
  • Submit the following documents:
    • Official high school transcript (or GED)
    • One letter of recommendation from school counselor or a teacher
    • SNHU is test-optional. Standardized test scores are not required for admission. SAT School code is 3649 and ACT School code is 2514.
    • For Music Education applicants, an audition is required prior to enrolling.
    • For University Honors Program applicants, an additional essay and completed Honors application are required.
  • Explore financial aid

Process for submitting an application as an online student:

  • Complete online application
  • Speak with SNHU admission counselor who will walk you through the rest of the process
    • Undergraduate:
      • Full application
      • Transcript Release Form for any schools you’ve attended
      • Electronic Attestation Form stating that you’ve graduated from high school or received your GED
    • Graduate:
      • Full application
      • Transcript Release Form for any schools you’ve attended
      • Graduate Attestation Form with your undergraduate GPA and conferral date

Process for submitting an application as an on-campus graduate:

  • Complete application
  • Submit college transcript
  • Admission review process takes 2-4 weeks
  • Look at financial aid options
  • Confirm enrollment and submit deposit online
    • Resident student: $500
    • Commuter student: $300

SNHU accepts rolling admissions with application deadlines either before Feb. 1 for fall admission or before Dec. 1 for spring admission. Undergraduate attendance in fall 2019 consisted of 29% full-time and 71% part-time. Seventy-four percent of undergraduate students were over the age of 25 while 26% were 24 and under. Only nine percent of undergraduate students were from in-state while 89% were from out-of-state.

Tuition Costs

SNHU has one of the lowest online tuition rates with an average annual cost of $9,500 for online undergraduate (30 credits) and online graduate students (15 credits). Most SNHU Bachelor’s degrees require 120 credit hours, Associate degrees require 60 hours, and Master’s degrees require 30 to 45 credit hours. As seen in the chart below, costs vary by type of student and program; costs are subject to change annually.

Southern New Hampshire University Estimated Costs

Type of Student/ProgramTuitionCost per CreditEstimated Total Cost
Undergraduate$30,756 annually$1,281.50$44,689-51,102
Graduate Master’s Programs (On Campus, Day)N/A$2,100 per 3 credit courseN/A
Graduate Master’s Programs (On Campus, Evening)N/A$1,881 per 3 credit courseN/A
MFA Program$7,463 per term$622N/A
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)$16,000 annuallyN/AN/A
Online Undergraduate$9,600 annually (30 credits)$960 per 3 credit courseN/A
Online Graduate$9,405 annually (15 credits)$1,881 per 3 credit courseN/A

SNHU’s current plans involve a new on-campus model of a $10,000 tuition rate, which is a 61% decrease from its current rate. Model development is for the 2020-2021 academic year. SNHU is also offering a one-time scholarship to all incoming campus freshmen that covers 100% of tuition for the first year.

Financial Aid, Grants, and Scholarships

At SNHU, 77% of undergraduate students received financial aid with 71% being grant or scholarship aid while 65% accepted student loans during the 2018-2019 year. The average amount of aid received for undergraduates was $3,913. The average amount for pell grants and student loans was $2,879 and $7,303, respectively.

There are several ways to lower the cost of attending SNHU. Applying for student loans, grants, and scholarships are common routes for a more affordable higher education.

Process for submitting an application for FAFSA:

  • Must meet the following requirements:
    • Enroll as a degree-seeking student
    • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
    • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
    • Not be in default on a federal educational loan
    • Not owe a refund on a federal educational grant or loan
    • Register with Selective Service (if you are a male born on or after January 1, 1960, over 18 years of age and not currently in the Armed Forces)
    • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • May need parents’ information when completing the application
  • Federal Student Aid ID required
  • Student Aid Report (SAR) required
  • Submit additional documents if needed

The following grants and scholarships are available for students to apply at SNHU:

Online Students

  • Grants
    • Federal Pell Grant
    • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
    • Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
    • State grants and UNIQUE
  • Merit Scholarships
    • Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarship
  • School of Business
    • Finlay Family Scholarship
    • Hassa Jadvani Memorial Scholarship
    • Matthew Stuart Van Kleek
    • School of Business Scholarship Fund
  • General
    • Alumni Leadership Scholarship
    • Dr. Jeanette A. Ritzenthaler Scholarship
    • Martha Van Hyland Scholarship
    • Online and Continuing Education Scholarship
    • The Continuing Education Scholarship
    • The Elaine I. Routhier Costigan and Ronald J. Costigan Scholarship
  • Veterans
    • Veterans Scholarship
    • Edward Nassar Veterans Memorial Scholarship
  • International
    • Li Xu Scholarship Fund

On-Campus Students

  • Grants
    • Federal Pell Grant
    • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
    • Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
    • State grants and UNIQUE
    • SNHU Need-Based Grants
    • SNHU Sibling Grant
  • Resident Scholarships
    • New Hampshire Governor’s Scholarship
  • Merit Scholarships
    • Presidential Scholarship
    • Quill Scholarship
    • Penmen Scholarship
    • Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarship
    • Regional Community College Scholarship
    • Honors Program Scholarship
    • Academy of Finance Scholarship
    • Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Scholarship
    • DECA scholarship
  • School of Arts and Sciences
    • James D. Walter Memorial Scholarship
    • John P. Fleming Memorial Scholarship Fund
    • Kimon and Anne Zachos Scholarship
    • School of Arts and Sciences Scholarship
    • The Walter Zimmerman Scholarship Fund
  • School of Business
    • Dr. Marty J. Bradley 3-Year Business Honors Scholarship
    • Hawaux Foundation Scholarship
    • Dr. Jacqueline Mara Scholarship
    • Economics/Finance Endowed Scholarship
    • Finlay Family Scholarship
    • Frank & Eleanor Barnes Alumni Scholarship
    • George Teloian Scholarship
    • Hassa Jadvani Memorial Scholarship
    • Henry W. Bloch Scholarship Fund
    • Matthew Stuart Van Kleeck Memorial Scholarship
    • Ronald L. Woodward Memorial Scholarship
    • School of Business Scholarship Fund
    • Scott Caswell Memorial Scholarship
    • Tony Lambert Scholarship Fund
    • William Trueheart Scholarship
    • Culinary Scholarship Fund
    • Ernest Iamundo/Labatt USA Scholarship
    • Hector Boiardi Scholarship
  • School of Education
    • Stephen F. Knapp Scholarship
  • General
    • Alumni Family Scholarship
    • Alumni Leadership Scholarship
    • Athletics Scholarship Fund
    • Athletic Scholarship Program
    • Dow Scholarship
    • Educational Continuum Scholarship
    • Findlen-LeBlanc Travel Scholarship
    • Fisher Family Scholarship
    • Housing Scholarship
    • John & Betty Miles Scholarship
    • Kappa Chi Scholarship
    • Kappa Delta Phi Scholarship
    • Kappa Sigma Scholarship
    • Michael DeBlasi Scholarship Fund
    • Phi Delta Psi Scholarship
    • Polly Popek Memorial Fund
    • Resident Assistant Scholarship Program
    • Assistant Resident Director Scholarship Program
    • Student Ambassador Scholarship
    • The Christine Zimmermann Memorial Scholarship Fund
    • The Edward S. Wolak Scholarship
    • The Richard and Joanne Gustafson Scholarship Fund
    • Traditional Undergraduate Scholarship
    • William S. Green Scholarship
    • Women’s Faculty Scholarship
  • Veterans
    • Veterans Scholarship
    • Edward Nassar Veterans Memorial Scholarship
  • International
    • Li Xu Scholarship Fund
    • Charles & Barbara Bickford International Scholarship

More information about each grant or scholarship and the qualifications are outlined on SNHU’s website. During the application process, SNHU encourages students to speak to a financial aid counselor to figure out the best course of action for an affordable and accessible higher education.


Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with one of the lowest online tuition rates. The school accommodates students by offering flexible schedules with day or evening courses as well as on-campus or online learning. There are more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 135,000 online students across the U.S who are attending SNHU. More than 300 programs are offered, with 100 of those being online degree programs. SNHU has an acceptance rate of 88% and 63% of first-time, full-time students return to SNHU after their freshman year. By 2023, SNHU President Paul LeBlanc aims to have 300,000 students enrolled online. Learn more about SNHU in our full review.